At 19, Elle Fanning is one of Hollywood’s most acclaimed young actresses – and although she hasn’t yet followed the well-trodden route of posing for a Marilyn-inspired photo shoot, she has never made a secret of her love for MM. In a new cover story for Vogue, Elle reveals how studying Marilyn’s life – both on and off the screen – has influenced her own career.
“Marilyn Monroe has been Fanning’s hero for about fifteen years—most of her life. She studies Marilyn’s interviews the way some study paintings by Cézanne. ‘You could always see the emotions that she was feeling . . . in her eyes,’ she says. ‘She didn’t know how great she was.’
She often wonders how Marilyn would have managed social media. For years, Fanning resisted what she calls (in excellent old-lady fashion) ‘the Facebook and the Twitter.’ But as time went on she worried she was too much in her shell. ‘I need to evolve with the times!’ she says.”
Actress Scarlett Johansson – who is sometimes compared to Marilyn – talks to another famous MM fan, 16 year-old Elle Fanning (now starring as Princess Aurora in Maleficent), about her idol in the May issue of Interview magazine.
“JOHANSSON: Growing up, my idol was Judy Garland. I loved her fragility, but also her strength. I know that you love Marilyn Monroe. Do you relate to Monroe as a performer? What is your Marilyn story?
FANNING: I was seven when I first saw a picture of her. I didn’t know that she was such a big icon. But I would just look at her and I was mesmerized. She was beautiful and so … truthful. She’s not faking it. If she’s having a terrible day when the picture was taken, she’ll show that she’s really depressed and having a terrible day. You can see it in her eyes. There are all the layers behind it. She not like, “Oh, let me just put on a smile.” That year my dad got the DVD of The Seven Year Itch . I was probably way too young to watch it. I didn’t even know what the story was about, but I was just looking at her the whole time and the way she talked was so light. That year I was Monroe in the white dress for Halloween. It was interesting to me that she did mostly comedies but her life was so tragic.
JOHANSSON: Sounds like you were attracted to her, if not attracted to her tragedy—you could see there’s such a soul to her.
FANNING: I felt like there was something deeper. It wasn’t glossy—there were bumps. There was more to her than just her blond hair.
JOHANSSON: Have you seen The Misfits ?
FANNING: No. I’ve seen most of them but I haven’t seen that one. I bought this Marilyn Monroe app on my phone, and I was reading all her quotes.
JOHANSSON: Wow. I think there’s something really interesting about a really young girl—seven at the time—noticing the depth to Marilyn, because so many people only respond to the surface glamour or movie star glitz of her.”
Actress Elle Fanning, 14, has once again named Marilyn as her idol, reports ONTD.
“Q: Who is your Hollywood icon?
A: I saw The Seven Year Itch at about seven years old. It’s part of what made me really want to be an actress. That Halloween I was Marilyn Monroe in the white dress, with the mole. I went to the vintage Levi’s store in London yesterday, and they had denim from every decade. The lady said that the ’50s jeans were the ones Marilyn Monroe used to wear–not the actual jeans, but the same style. They were high-waisted, and they tapered at the calf. I’m still thinking about them. Maybe I’ll get them for Christmas. Then I can look like Marilyn Monroe.”
Singer Gwen Stefani, who has drawn inspiration from Monroe, Harlow and Madonna, is on the cover of the UK’s InStylemagazine this November. ‘I do my roots as often as Marilyn Monroe did hers,’ she says. ‘I’m serious. I found out.’
Actress Scarlett Johansson – who has often been compared to Monroe – exudes 1940s-style glamour on the cover of the Spanish magazine, S Moda, and in her latest ad campaign for Dolce & Gabbana – resembling either Lana Turner, Betty Grable or a young Marilyn.
Over at Rookiemagazine, starlet Elle Fanning (Somewhere, Super 8) talks about her Marilyn collection:
“Every year I get a new Barbie calendar and there are all these old Barbie dolls on the calendar, and I’m very obsessed with schedules and everything, so I love writing in different things that I have each day on it. So that’s one of my favorite things in my room. I also am obsessed with Marilyn Monroe, and I went to an auction and got her face cream and powder. Her actual one!
Oh my god!
I know! Crazy! So I have that in my room. It’s literally the best thing ever. The lotion on it is sort of glued shut but the powder, some of it’s still in there.
That’s insane! You need a Marilyn Monroe Barbie, though—do you have one?
I do, I do. I have the ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’ one, and I have the Seven Year Itch one, with the white dress.”
Elle Fanning, 12 year-old sister of actress Dakota, stars with Stephen Dorff in Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere, set in one of her idol Marilyn Monroe’s favourite haunts – Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont Hotel.
I’d been there before for some interviews and photo shoots, but I hadn’t spent that much time there. Now, I feel like I know it so well. When I first got there, I was like, “Am I walking where Marilyn Monroe walked?”
This month Elle tells Interviewmagazine about her lifelong admiration for MM:
INTERVIEW: Is there anyone you’d really like to work with? Who was your favourite actor growing up?
ELLE: My favorite actress is Marilyn Monroe.
INTERVIEW: She’s gonna be tricky to work with.
ELLE: Yeah. [laughs]
INTERVIEW: Have you ever seen any of Marilyn Monroe’s films? Or do you just like her look?
ELLE: Yeah, I mean, of course-I love her look and everything. But I’ve seen The Seven Year Itch  and I loved that. I watched that all the time when I was little. I liked the dress. I was her for Halloween when I was 7. I did the makeup and the mole and I did all the poses with blowing kisses and all that. But also, of course, I’d love to do something with my sister. I’ve never really acted with her before. I’ve played her at a younger age, but we’ve never been in the same scenes together.